Putting social on the OOH spectrum

Ever wondered, amidst all the noise and bluster, where social media platforms sit in the real world?

Recent analysis from UKOM shows the age breakdown of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat audiences according to the minutes spent using the platforms. This demonstrates that 37% of Facebook time is generated from audiences aged under 35 with 12% coming from under 24s. Instagram and Snapchat are considerably more skewed to younger audiences.

Audience data from Route is built on the time spent within visibility areas of out of home advertising. Summing the time spent exposed to out of home advertising and then apportioning this by age we are able to determine what share of ad time comes from different cohorts. Lining these up with the UKOM data gives us a means to compare across platforms. This enables the placing of social networks and out of home environments in context with each other. Fig.1. shows a continuum illustrating the proportion of media time generated by under 35s.

Fig.1:  Creating a continuum of advertising platforms using the % of total time spent with the platform by under 35s as our metric.

While no out of home environment competes with either Snapchat or Instagram in terms of the share of time emanating from under 35s, we wouldn’t really expect them to. One of the core strengths of out of home is that it broadcasts a message publicly in a brand safe manner and therefore reaches all demographics. As a medium, OOH reaches 98% of the population in a week.

However, out of home environments with relatively high proportions of exposure time coming from younger audiences do exist. And, whisper it, some even have a higher share of time than Facebook. For instance, 48% of time spent exposed to ads in tube stations and 40% of time exposed to rail station ads come from people aged under 35. This compares to 37% of minutes spent using Facebook.

Placing ads in these environments, enables advertisers to effectively and efficiently target young audiences. Of course, young people are not the only game in town. Although an attractive audience to advertisers, they’re not the most obviously lucrative.

Data published earlier this month by the ONS shows that 65% of total wealth now comes from households aged 55+. Some may consider that these people a more appealing target audience than ‘millennials’ who together comprise 3% of wealth.

For those that do wish to target older, there is a range of different out of home environments which can dial up the exposure time to this group. Here’s what the share of minutes looks like for audiences aged 55+.

Fig.2: Adapting the continuum of advertising platforms to display the % of total time spent with the platform by over 55s as the metric.

For instance, 45% of exposure time for ads in supermarkets and motorway service areas come from people aged 55+, this compares to 22% of time for Facebook and just 3% for Instagram and 1% of time for Snapchat.

As a broadcast medium, out of home advertising is successful at reaching all demographics across a week. This analysis demonstrates that through careful selection of environments it is also possible for brands to use the medium to effectively target different demographics based on the weight of contact too.

Download these two charts here.

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